The NHL and NHLPA will resume CBA negotiations at 5 p.m. ET “at the earliest,” according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
How long talks last is anyone’s guess. In less than 24 hours the mood in New York has been downgraded from cautiously optimistic to just cautious, if not downright glum.
True, every negotiation has its ups and downs, but for hockey fans (the ones still paying attention) it’s frustrating all the same.
The NHLPA has spent much of the day meeting internally and planning its response to the NHL. The union has also reportedly requested the return of federal mediators, which may say something about its confidence in convincing owners to move off their positions.
Meanwhile, the NHL isn’t so sure mediation is necessary.
This evening’s talks are also expected to mark the return of commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Donald Fehr. The talks won’t, however, include any NHL owners.
Word of warning: If tonight goes poorly, keep in mind there will still be time to rescue the season.
Not much time. But some.
Update (5:42 p.m. ET): The meeting has started, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is not in the room. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is present, along with Steve Fehr and some players, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Bob Batterman are the only league representatives present, according to NHL.com writer Dan Rosen.
The NHLPA has a proposal to present to the league and ESPN’s Katie Strang reports that they plans to do so, despite the fact that Bettman isn’t there.